Putting in a new poo system is not the ideal way to prepare for Christmas. Neither is scraping around to pay unexpected bills for social charges or doing emergency plumbing. So, despite it being the season of merriment, the saga of life at Les Couguieux continues:
At a party last week our bio-dynamic accountant dipped a pancake in avocado gloop, twirled in her festive mini dress and gave us some more news to follow in the wake of the social charges bombshell: ‘Monsieur Raymond didn’t dare to tell you when he was doing your terrace but he thinks your house is going to fall down’.
That was before The Hole, I thought. The day after Alain had finished his hole - only centimetres away from the front of the house - several more cracks had appeared. It was time to take a deep breath, get another loan and believe in the stuff our bio-dynamic builder told us about houses aging like people and cracks appearing like wrinkles as it laughed and cried, not to mention all that shit about prosperity.
On Tuesday it arrived - the Alien Beastie that would transform our waste into nectar that would make flowers grow, and it was lowered into The Hole. Next to it and into its very own hole (there wasn’t much left of our infamous terrace) was lowered The Reservoir to catch the clean water not wanted by our silly parched neighbours. Julian had come up with a plan which would entail some plumbing by him but would mean we touched no-one's land but our own: We would store six months’ water in the reservoir, and in April we would attach a hose leading to Nadine’s vegetable garden which would water her chard and potatoes. Any excess we would let run out into the vines…. It was a brilliant plan but Julian had made a boo boo by confusing his naughts and, instead of it holding six months’ water, the reservoir would hold three weeks'. Ouch. That night we shared a tentative glass of bubbly with monsieur Thurin and Alain, and Alain, punctuated by Monsieur T's quips about excrement and whiskey, talked about how we would all come to his house and share a drink and meet his wife and play traditional folk music with his son. We went to bed hoping that, since the truffle price per kilo had risen to €1186, Monsieur C's interest might be peaked and he might change his mind (again).
Meanwhile, Julian has spent all day today painting two gorgeous lemons (chosen by me) with a leaf snuggling between them in such an intimate way it looks like a loin-cloth. Then, just as darkness fell and it was time to prepare to go to friends for Christmas drinks, he cursed and scraped the canvas clean. He seems to have started another under his studio lights. After an hour I think I can just hear him hum which is normally a good sign...maybe we'll make the tail end of the drinks after all.
Tomorrow is Christmas eve. Blimey. We have one natural decoration on the tree (see below). We have sent no cards or prezzies. Our Christmas gift so far is a bokashi compost bin (really cool, and if our neighbours’ veg aren’t already growing like a dream the juice from this will make sure they fatten up for next Christmas). However the house is clean and tomorrow we will go to Les Halles market in Avignon and start compiling our feast.
I wish you all a very jolly Christmas and maybe my biggest wish right now as I battle with the guilt about not having sent anyone anything, is that, for each funky poo system or bokashi bin;for each small effort we make, our planet may become a happier healthier place.